Rules of Good Roleplay Etiquette
Welcome to Rules of Good Roleplay Etiquette, affectionately known as the Roleplaying Guidelines. These apply to all styles of Roleplaying in general.
Be kind and considerate in a roleplay. We all want to have fun, not just you, so keep us in your thoughts when you make your posts and characters!
Don't make Mary-Sues, be original, give your characters flaws, remember that your character doesn't know everything you do, and don't associate a character's personality with their owner's. We're all here to have fun, and I find that most Roleplayers are pretty cool!
Literacy: Be sensible with your grammar and spelling, and make posts that are a comfortable length for you. Battling: Play fair, remember what damage you've taken, and be a good sport. Again, we're all here just to have fun!
Spotlight: Basically, don't try to make a/the plot revolve around your character. If you like another character, you can do something that centers around them for a minute and make their player feel warm and fuzzy inside, but even then, don't go overboard.
(It's time for a little tough love...) Characters are a major part of an Roleplay, as much as the plot, so they need to be good. Here's a basic what-to-do and what-not-to-do guide for charries!
What a Mary-Sue Is Mary-Sues are, by definition of Wikipedia, "a fictional character who plays a major role in the plot on such a scale that suspension of disbelief fails due to the character's traits, skills and abilities being tenuously or inadequately justified." I, however, prefer the Writerium version of the definition: "Characters deemed as Mary Sues are usually "author's darlings." The author spoils the character in some way, be it with too much talent, beauty, and/or charm, then writes the character and story in such a way that it becomes obvious that the writer intended the audience to feel obligated to like the character."
I'm sure we've all come across characters like this: Broly, Robin Hood, Peter Pan (At least the Disney version), any Disney princess (but not the Brothers Grimm versions), King Arthur. They are EVERYWHERE.
Some can be pulled off quite well, like Eragon, Robin Hood and some others. The problem is, we're not all that skilled. I can't pull off Mary Sues myself. If you're new to Mary Sueism, and even if you're not, I suggest putting your characters through one of these tests. My personal favorite among these is this one. I run all of my characters through it, whether I'm sure about them or not. Remember to be HONEST on these tests. Nobody's going to see the results, and you're not helping yourself in any way by lying. If the character doesn't pass, it's perfectly okay to let it slip away, and you can always just revise it a tad and run it through again.
While most unoriginal characters fall under the class of Mary Sues, there are still some unoriginal characters that slip by. There are ways to make your characters original without giving them all this pizzazz that also turns them into a Mary-Sue, though. Not only can they have unoriginal virtues, they can have unoriginal FLAWS! However, if you give your characters flaws, make sure to stick to them, and don't make them immune to flaws of their race. If your character is a vampire, they can't be immune to sunlight. I don't care what you say. Don't care what mystical trinket they have or what half-blood they are. Vampires. Feel. Pain. In. Sunlight. Got it?
Don't Do It.
Gonna start off with an example. "Marcus crouched in the bushes, eying the Chocobo hungrily. The old Neko licked his chops, creeping a few steps forward. The leaves and undergrowth around him were wet and cold with the morning's dew, making his joints ache painfully. He had to concentrate on the Chocobo instead of the pain however, as he knew that if the pain clouded his mind, he wouldn't make the kill. He hadn't told the other Nekoes that he was experiencing joint pains yet, and he couldn't show it now.
Fenrir snorted at Marcus as the old Neko stalked the Chocolate bow. That old thing couldn't take down the prey. His joints would surely hamper his movements and let the Bird escape. The younger Neko let out a chuckle. "Old man couldn't make a kill if his life depended on it," Fenrir mused."
Fenrir's player made a bad mistake which we sometimes do without realizing. Though Marcus's player did mention that Marcus had arthritis, they also mentioned that Marcus had not told anyone. Fenrir, however, somehow knew, despite the fact that Marcus was making sure not to let it show. How? Not magic. Person-Character Information Transgression. The basic way to avoid me having to knock you into oblivion with a Home Run Bat because of this is to separate actions and dialog given by characters from expository sentences given by player in your head.
We all do this, but try not to. You probably don't like Fenrir because of his mocking Marcus even though Marcus can't help it. However, Fenrir's player could be a perfectly lovely person. Don't let Fenrir make you hate Fenrir's player and miss out on a potential friend.
Don't make Mary-Sues, be original, give your characters flaws, remember that your character doesn't know everything you do, and don't associate a character's personality with their owner's. A quick tip, one line of text does not a personality section make. If you can't force yourself to write anymore, go ahead and "cheat" by taking a personality test, pretending to be your character. Two suggestions for tests - here and here.
Some of you may have already seen this Battle Etiquette beast.
Yep, attacking. You'd think people wouldn't need to be told how to do this. All attacks should be phrased as attempts. For example: "Featherstar leaped at the Saiyan with the fury in his eyes. The Chocobo brought down a two-clawed foot, aiming at the Saiyan's shoulder." This way, the Saiyan, whoever it is, has a chance to leap out of the way. Abusing this will be addressed in the next rule. Don't make your attacks too powerful, either.
Your character can't block or dodge every attack. Your character is GOING to take damage. End of story.
When your character is wounded, your character is wounded. They stay wounded for a while and don't magically heal in two minutes, 'kay?
Don't intentionally gang up on people, please! It's really not nice and sucks the fun right out of things!
Somebody's got to lose in a battle, or else it's not going to end. One character is either going to flee or die, and personally, I'd take fleeing. I don't care if your character is brave and strong. They're going to have to lose at some point, or else I'm going to have to smack you around with an alpacashark.
Play fair, remember what damage you've taken, and be a good sport. Again, we're all here just to have fun!
Sharing the Spotlight
Not much to say here. Basically, don't try to make a/the plot revolve solely around your character, even if you're the one who suggested that roleplay arc or created the location page where it's taking place. If you like another person's character, you can do something that centers around them for a minute and make their player feel warm and fuzzy inside, but even then, don't go overboard. Be considerate and make your character another average character, or people might hate you. No pressure!
Now, go have fun, and don't forget to make it fun for everyone else too!
Don't take on more than you can handle. Don't just start editing every location and joining every role-play you think sounds fun, make sure that you can have meaningful character development in all your areas that you participate in. If that means restricting yourself to one at a time, then so be it.
Source: The Cave of Dragonflies Forums, where the smallest bugs live alongside the strongest dragons.